Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Forget Perfect!

Heart to Hear is going to be a little bit different today, but I believe this is God’s word for us.
She dreamed of a jar of magical cream whose contents smoothed away every blemish, each spot and wrinkle.  When she saw herself in the mirror, the face reflected was completely flawless, like a painting of a beautiful woman by a rather unimaginative artist.  Gone were the worry lines etched by loving concern.  Also gone were the lines of frustrated patience delved in the trenches of motherhood.  Not a trace remained of the joys and sorrows of a lifetime of loving, struggling and overcoming.  It was like the face of a doll – lovely, but without a soul.  Devoid of any human imperfections, it had ceased to be attractive and was now merely decorative and easily dismissed.  In horror, she dropped the jar and covered her face with her hands.  This empty soul-less beauty was grotesque on a living being.  She wept as she realized that true beauty doesn’t come from the lack of imperfections.  It comes from the light and life of the person inside shining past every line and scar and making the individual unique, alive, and real.  When she awoke to the morning sun and looked in the bathroom mirror at her own face – spots, wrinkles and all – she smiled and said, “Forget perfect.  It’s over-rated.  Let’s just focus on being real.  Be yourself.  Love other people.  And hey, let’s quit spending so much time looking at each other!” 

Abba Father, thank You for being the One who will present us to Yourself blameless and perfected.  Thank you that though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being made new.  You are amazing!  Your love is astonishing. Help us see others, as well as ourselves, through Your eyes.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“…as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” Ephesians 5:25b -27 (New Living Translation)

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”  2 Corinthians 4:16 (New International Version)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Does it Matter?

Most of us would agree that what matters to us matters to God.  The Bible tells us that our Father God is a God who cares about us personally, even going so far as to number the hairs of our heads.  He stores our tears up in a bottle, and He hears the cries of our hearts. (Psalm 56:8)  Today, however, I believe He is challenging us with this question:  Does what matters to God matter to us?  Are we as interested in knowing how He is feeling and what He is wanting as we are in telling Him how we feel and what we want?  When was the last time we wondered what was on God’s mind and heart without it being all about us?  As I have prayed about this thought, the words to one of Steven Curtis Chapman’s songs came to my mind. 
“There’s more to this life than living and dying,
More than just trying to make it through the day”

Lately, I’ve wondered about my life and what it means.  I’ve been seeing things in Scripture that have challenged me and caused me to wonder if my life is all that it is meant to be.  Matthew 25:31 – 46 really has my attention.  Here in my comfortable suburban home, I never see need.  My prayers aren’t for daily survival.  The naked, hungry and desperate are far removed from view.  Even if I am confronted with the needs of the world through the Internet or television, it is all too easy to click away or switch channels.  Jesus told Judas, “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”  (Mark 14:6-8)  I grew up hearing this quoted, but usually without that middle phrase, “You can help them any time you want.”  Instead, my take-away was that there would always be poor people and there really wasn’t anything we could do about it, so we should just focus on Jesus instead.  Now, I am beginning to wake up to the fact that my thoughts in this area have been wrong.  Jesus never advocated ignoring poverty and need.  Which takes me to back to the question – what does God care about and do I care, too?  What if I am His answer to someone else’s prayer?  I’ll be honest – this is scary, unfamiliar territory.  I’m not sure where this path will take me.  On the other hand, I’m wondering if this isn’t the answer to my heart’s cry for more to this life.  Pray for me, and I will pray for you that our Abba Father will give us hearts to hear what is on His heart and the grace to respond in ways that bless Him. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No More Sloppy Thinking!

Early this past Saturday morning, this thought ran through my head: “No more sloppy thinking!”  I believe the Father was telling me that it’s time to be more intentional about my thought life.  The enemy often takes shots at me via little condemning thoughts pinging off my brain.  “Can you believe you said that?”  “What were you thinking?”  On and on, but now I believe the Lord is saying, “Enough!”  It’s time to crack down on this unnecessary personal verbal abuse, and start making more of an effort to think the truth.  When I did the Breaking Free Bible study by Beth Moore, one of the best things I took away was the idea that you can cover the walls of your mind with the truth of God’s Word instead of the lies of the enemy.  In my mind, I like to imagine a big poster on the wall that says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  I do not have to listen to these thoughts anymore.  It isn’t the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  It is just the enemy trying to find out how much torment I’m willing to take.  I used to think I deserved the torment, but now I believe the truth.  I am beloved of my Father God, so much so that He put His Spirit of adoption into my heart that calls Him “Abba” which means “Daddy”.  I am accepted in His beloved Son Jesus.  I am clean and righteous before Him.  That’s the truth and that is where He wants me living.  After all, He set us free so we could be…free!  Why would we settle for anything less?
Abba, thank You for the amazing love You have shown us. Thank You for sending Jesus to redeem our lives from the pit and set us free to live in You and for You.  Help us think the truth, and please show us the places where we aren’t.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Romans 8:1, 15; Ephesians 1:6, I John 1:9; Galatians 5:1